Posted by Michelle Casey on 24 Aug 2021

Having London on our doorstep is one of the many things I love about where we live. There is lots to see and do, and plenty to do with children- for free!

Natural History Museum

There is so much to keep kids of all ages engaged, including lots of interactive features. A few family favourites include the Dinosaur gallery, Mammals gallery, Fossil Marine Reptiles area and the Volcanoes and Earthquakes section. And don’t forget to stop for a photo with Andy’s clock!

Science Museum

Not far from the Natural History Museum is the Science Museum and, again, it is packed full of things to see, do and explore. There are lots of interactive displays and areas (my 3 year old loved it as she just pressed buttons manically with no idea what the outcome was, but my 6 year old pressed the buttons with a little more awareness).

Horniman Museum and Gardens

Situated in Forest Hill, this place promises an interesting day out for the whole family. It has displays of anthropology, natural history and musical instruments, and is known for its large collection of taxidermied animals.

Museum of London

The Museum of London documents the history of the UK’s capital city from prehistoric to modern times. Stroll through a recreated Victorian street, get cosy in a recreated Saxon home complete with glowing embers and sheepskin rugs and see the Olympic Cauldron.

RAF Museum

This is a little further afield, situated way up in North London (Colindale to be precise, and where I used to live many moons ago). But if your little ones have an interest in aircraft then this is a fantastic place for a day out and well worth the trip. If you make it that far, and you have time, it is worth making your way to Hampstead Heath, which is in that neck of the woods. It is such a beautiful green space and has children’s playgrounds dotted around. From the top of Parliament Hill, you’ll get a great view of London’s skyline. You may even spot a celeb or two!

Imperial War Museum

Countless discoveries await you and the kids here. Imperial War Museum is the world’s leading museum of war and conflict. It was founded as the First World War raged and it tells the story of the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people forced to live their lives in a world torn apart by conflict.

Tate Modern

Tate Modern houses a network of four art galleries with a collection of British art and international modern and contemporary art. They are hosting lots of family friendly interactive events and activities until 29th August.

Crystal Palace Park

This place makes a great day out! Lots of green space, a lovely playground with a sandpit and good facilities. The main attraction is, of course, the dinosaur trail which you can see by walking around the lake. These were the world’s first full-scale reconstructions of dinosaurs and represent the first three species discovered. They are scientifically incorrect but still a great sight to see. There is also a boating lake and an animal farm, but these are not free.

Holland Park

Located in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, this park provides a haven of tranquillity. It is a little quieter than some of the other parks like Hyde Park. Holland Park has 22.5 hectares of gardens (which include a Japanese garden), an adventure playground, sports areas, a café and areas of woodland.

Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens

Enjoy a great adventure in the playground with a huge wooden pirate ship which is the centrepiece of the Diana, Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground. A sensory trail, teepees, a beach around the pirate ship and various toys and play sculptures await you. There’s plenty of seating so the grownups can relax too. There is an area where less able and able-bodied children can play together. Inspired by the stories of Peter Pan, the playground encourages children to explore and follow their imaginations, learning whilst they play.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

This place offers acres of stunning parklands and a chance to re-visit incredible memories of London 2012 with iconic venues to visit. There are award-winning playgrounds and beautiful open spaces to enjoy. The Pleasure Gardens in the south of the Park, is an open play area with oversized swings, slides and a giant sand pit. There’s even a climbing wall along the canal path! In the north of the park, there’s lots to explore at the Tumbling Bay playground.

St James’ Park

St James’s Park includes The Mall and Horse Guards Parade, and is surrounded by landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Whitehall. There are lots of statues and monuments to discover. There is also the chance to see the park’s much loved resident pelicans being fed between 2:30pm and 3:00pm every day next to Duck Island Cottage.

South Bank

South Bank is great area to have a little wander along the River Thames and have a mooch in the independent shops. There is a playground up near the London Eye and sand sculptures to see as you head towards Tower Bridge. The South Bank Centre hosts lots of free events and festivals.

Tusk Lion Trail

Tusk Lion Trail is a sculpture installation which highlights the importance of the conservation of African lions — their population is estimated to have declined by as much as 50% over the last 25 years. A host of artists, musicians and comedians have decorated their own lion sculptures, which have now been scattered across the city. The celebrities who have taken part include Noel Fielding and Lee Mack.

Hopefully exploring a few of these will keep you and the kids entertained. I can’t wait to re-visit a few of these and get exploring some new places.

Happy discovering!

Michelle xx

Michelle Casey
Michelle is a newcomer to the borough (since summer 2019) and lives in West Ewell with her husband and two children. She is a part-time primary school teacher and works in various schools in the area. When not teaching, writing, walking or attempting yoga, she is likely to be found at a playground or soft play with her littlies-preferably one that serves good coffee…

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